Category Archives: Blackout Poetry

learned acquiescence


learned acquiescence

I am domestic
learned from my mother, 
from her mother,
private, distant,
a shadow
I act the part
as time whistles through
one day I plan to be

~kat

A Blackout Poem inspired by poem by Suzanne Buffam, seen below:

Enough
I am wearingdark glasses insidethe house
To match my dark mood.

I have left all the sugar out of the pie.
My rage is a kind of domestic rage.

I learned it from my mother
Who learned it from her mother before her

And so on.
Surely the Greeks had a word for this.

Now surely the Germans do.
The morewords a person knows

To describe her private sufferings
The more distantly she can perceive them.

I repeat the names of all the cities I’ve known
And watch an ant drag its crooked shadow home.

What does it mean to love the lifewe’ve been given?
To act well the part that’s been cast for us?

Wind. Light. Fire. Time.  
A train whistles through the far hills.

One day I plan to be riding it.

Suzanne Buffam, "Enough" from The Irrationalist. Copyright © 2010 by Suzanne Buffam.  Reprinted by permission of Canarium Books.
Source: The Irrationalist (Canarium Books, 2010)


when

when the sun ceases
when no sound is heard
when the moon and the stars
sigh in melancholy, mournful silence
when, in sleep, earth forgets to bloom
remember to breathe
let not sorrow cloud your happiness

~kat

A blackout poem based on this lovely poem by Anne Plato.

Forget Me Not
Ann Plato

When in the morning’s misty hour,
When the sun beams gently o’er each flower;
When thou dost cease to smile benign,
And think each heart responds with thine,
When seeking rest among divine,
                                    Forget me not.

When the last rays of twilight fall,
And thou art pacing yonder hall;
When mists are gathering on the hill,
Nor sound is heard save mountain rill,
When all around bids peace be still,
Forget me not.

When the first star with brilliance bright,
Gleams lonely o’er the arch of night;
When the bright moon dispels the gloom,
And various are the stars that bloom,
And brighten as the sun at noon,
 Forget me not.

When solemn sighs the hollow wind,
And deepen’d thought enraps the mind;
If e’er thou doest in mournful tone,
E’er sigh because thou feel alone,
Or wrapt in melancholy prone,
Forget me not.

When bird does wait thy absence long,
Nor tend unto its morning song;
While thou art searching stoic page,
Or listening to an ancient sage,
Whose spirit curbs a mournful rage,
Forget me not.

Then when in silence thou doest walk,
Nor being round with whom to talk;
When thou art on the mighty deep,
And do in quiet action sleep;
If we no more on earth do meet,
Forget me not.

When brightness round thee long shall bloom,
And knelt remembering those in gloom;
And when in deep oblivion’s shade,
This breathless, mouldering form is laid,
And thy terrestrial body staid,
Forget me not.

“Should sorrow cloud thy coming years,
And bathe thy happiness in tears,
Remember, though we’re doom’d to part,
There lives one fond and faithful heart,
That will forget thee not.”

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on August 2, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

 


healing

healing

healing

i hold my breath
try to forget
my shoulders tense
then I remember
the sweetness
and my breathing
grows soft, healing,
like rain, my breath’s
like a kiss, soft, slow,
persistent

~kat


Today’s Blackout Poem inspired by this magnificent poem by Yesenia Montilla.

a brief meditation on breath

i have diver’s lungs from holding my
breath for so long. i promise you
i am not trying to break a record
sometimes i just forget to
exhale. my shoulders held tightly
near my neck, i am a ball of tense
living, a tumbleweed with steel-toed
boots. i can’t remember the last time
i felt light as dandelion. i can’t remember
the last time i took the sweetness in
& my diaphragm expanded into song.
they tell me breathing is everything,
meaning if i breathe right i can live to be
ancient. i’ll grow a soft furry tail or be
telekinetic something powerful enough
to heal the world. i swear i thought
the last time i’d think of death with breath
was that balmy day in july when the cops
became a raging fire & sucked the breath
out of Garner; but yesterday i walked
38 blocks to my father’s house with a mask
over my nose & mouth, the sweat dripping
off my chin only to get caught in fabric & pool up
like rain. & i inhaled small spurts of me, little
particles of my dna. i took into body my own self
& thought i’d die from so much exposure
to my own bereavement—they’re saying
this virus takes your breath away, not
like a mother’s love or like a good kiss
from your lover’s soft mouth but like the police
it can kill you fast or slow; dealer’s choice.
a pallbearer carrying your body without a casket.
they say it’s so contagious it could be quite
breathtaking. so persistent it might as well
be breathing                        down your neck—

Yesenia Montilla


genesis

genesis

the beginning of time
dark, glorious, sparkling
from dust and nerve endings,
rippling and glittering,
hearts roaring, the wonder
of wet delight, a twinge of color,
bright orange, mahogany, black,
the hum of gratitude whispered,
motion begetting light … it begins

~kat


A Blackout poem inspired by this fabulous poem by Jabari Asim. So much to play with in this magnificent poem! The photo features the Rosette Nebula.


Some Call It God
Jabari Asim

I choose Rhythm,
the beginning as motion,
black Funk shaping itself
in the time before time,
dark, glorious and nimble as a sperm
sparkling its way into the greatest of grooves,
conjuring worlds from dust and storm and primordial soup.
I accept the Funk as my holy savior,
Funk so high you can’t get over it,
so wide you can’t get around it,
ubiquitous Funk that envelopes all creatures great and small,
quickens nerve endings and the white-hot
hearts of stars.
I believe in Rhythm rippling each feather on a sparrow’s back
and glittering in every grain of sand,
I am faithful to Funk as irresistible twitch, heart skip
and backbone slip,
the whole Funk and nothing but the Funk
sliding electrically into exuberant noise.
I hear the cosmos swinging
in the startled whines of newborns,
the husky blare of tenor horns,
lambs bleating and lions roaring,
a fanfare of tambourines and glory.
This is what I know:
Rhythm resounds as a blessing of the body,
the wonder and hurt of being:
the wet delight of a tongue on a thigh
fear inching icily along a spine
the sudden surging urge to holler
the twinge that tells your knees it’s going to rain
the throb of centuries behind and before us
I embrace Rhythm as color and chorus,
the bright orange bloom of connection,
the mahogany lure of succulent loins
the black-and-tan rhapsody of our clasping hands.
I whirl to the beat of the omnipotent Hum;
diastole, systole, automatic,
borderless. Bigger and bigger still:
Bigger than love,
Bigger than desire or adoration.
Bigger than begging and contemplation.
Bigger than wailing and chanting and the slit throats of roosters.
For which praise is useless.
For which gratitude might as well be whispered.
For which motion is meaning enough.
Funk lives in us, begetting light as bright as music
unfolding into dear lovely day
and bushes ablaze in
Rhythm. Until it begins again.

Copyright © 2020 by Jabari Asim. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 6, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.


no trace

no trace

the light slipped away
hope is dead, go quietly
a dream leaves no trace

~kat


Today’ Blackout Poem worked perfectly as a haiku style poem. It was inspired by the poem by Courtee Cullen below:

If You Should Go
Countee Cullen – 1903-1946

Love, leave me like the light,
The gently passing day;
We would not know, but for the night,
When it has slipped away

So many hopes have fled,
Have left me but the name
Of what they were. When love is dead,
Go thou, beloved, the same.

Go quietly; a dream
When done, should leave no trace
That it has lived, except a gleam
Across the dreamer’s face.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 28, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.


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